Fortnightly Magazine - July 15 2003

Technology Corridor

Vegetation that helps break down toxins debuts at manufactured gas plant site.

Vegetation that helps break down toxins debuts at manufactured gas plant site.

Planting swaths of rye grass and mulberry trees and sowing the soil with bacteria are hardly standard operating procedure when it comes to cleaning up manufactured gas plant sites. But if Bill Bogan has his way, it just might be.

Gas Pipelines Do the Safety Dance

The industry responds to FERC's new safety regulations.

The industry responds to FERC's new safety regulations.

Utility companies are scrambling to understand and comply with the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, which became law in December 2002. According to Daphne Magnuson, director of public relations at the American Gas Association (AGA), the act will require member companies to make significant changes during the next 10 years in how they operate.

Taking the Weather Option

Weather-contingent options are cheaper than other weather risk products and can be crafted to suit emissions allowance markets.

Weather-contingent options are cheaper than other weather risk products and can be crafted to suit emissions allowance markets.

Weather is a pivotal demand factor in energy consumption, but one that is difficult to predict and impossible to control. With weather-hedging tools available in the over-the-counter (OTC) markets for several years, the market has grown to $4.2 billion, with approximately 4,000 contracts traded in 2001, according to Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.

Watching the Watchers

Can RTO market monitors really be independent?

Can RTO market monitors really be independent?

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) initiatives on regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and standard market design give new prominence to the market monitoring institution (MMI), a novel regulatory tool never before contemplated in legislation.1

Frontlines

The ISO graples with the politics of scarity.

The ISO graples with the politics of scarity.

In regions that have embraced electric industry restructuring, such as New York, New England, and the mid-Atlantic states, where independent system operators (ISOs) have taken over and the standard market design (SMD) has grabbed a foothold over bulk power transactions, one fascinating question still dogs theorists and policymakers alike:

Is a power supply shortage really all that bad?